Ask Matt Labash: Taking the BT out of LGBT, and the evils of Nerf country music

Matt Labash | Columnist

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Dear Matt: I’m as socially liberal as the next guy. Anything that empowers women to be more promiscuous is OK by me, and I’d marry a gay man if he had lots of hot girl friends. But I recently discovered what the BT in LGBT stands for and I’m having a major crisis of liberal conscience. Bi people get their own thing? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Any homosexual man worth his salt will tell you a bi fella is a gay in waiting. And bi women are just a bill of goods porn’s been selling for years. The T? I’m not even clear on the definition of “transsexual” apart from its requiring major, invasive surgery. I’ve always wondered what a mangina looks like but that hardly seems like a reason to give these folks equal-billing. I thought we were just supposed to feel really sorry for them. Are the LG’s even aware of who’s riding their coattails? Somebody had better tell them. Should I? All best, Colin

So see, your hateful bi-and-transphobia aside, this column isn’t just here for me to teach. It’s here for me to learn. I don’t generally keep up with the kids and their acronyms. Because TBH, it’s a real PIA to learn all of them – there’s not enough hours in the day, and YOLO, as I’m told the children say. But all this time, I thought the “BT” in LGBT stood for “BlueTooth.” I feel like a ridiculous person.

If you’ll permit a one-paragraph digression (as if you have any say), not only didn’t I get the connection, but I’m violently against Bluetooths (Blueteeth?). For some reason, even though we have all manner of devices available to easily communicate, a certain segment of the population – particularly middle-aged African American men, insist on wearing these absurdities, even when there’s no one on the other end of the line. Go to any predominantly black mall or hangout, and you will see that this is not even a vaguely racist statement, just an incontrovertible point of fact, like noticing that Irish people drink too much, or that Mexicans like Mother Mary statuary, or that all white people love “The Wire,” or pretend to. Yes, Bluetooth wearer, we know you’re an important person who is expecting a call at any moment, and therefore, must be on standby. But your electronic ear trumpet makes you look BLINGS, IMHO.

As for the LGBT designation, it does seem like a marriage of convenience. Like the Grievance Group Union (GGU) ran out of room, and so needed to jam everyone into the same work space. It doesn’t make much sense. The randomness of it feels like the acronym-equivalent of 52 Pick-up, as though it just as easily could have become LBTO – Lesbian Bachman Turner Overdrive – for all its meaninglessness and lack of clarity.

As a straight male, I have more affinity with the “L’s” in LGBT – we are both, after all, staunch proponents of having sex with women – than the G’s and the T’s do. Sure, the B’s are purportedly with us half the time. But as we in the LS (Lesbian/Straight) community say, you’re either in, or you’re out. And then the poor T’s, God love ‘em, can’t decide if they’re innies or outties. They’re sort of inside-outters, for lack of a better word. And what I rarely see addressed in these LGBT discussions, is whether as a T, if you were a man who became a woman, who loves men, do you still have common cause with the G’s, or are you now with the BS’s. (Bisexual/Straights). And people think BT’s are confused? Not as confused as I am.

Dear Matt, did you see the CMA’s (Country Music Association Awards), and what do you make of them? – Michelle P.

This is clearly a special all-acronym edition of Ask Matt. Yes, I did catch the CMA’s in dribs and drabs, while surfing my LGBT message board. I’m of divided mind on the CMAs, and on modern country music generally. On the one hand, I enjoyed watching the show for the sheer majesty of Carrie Underwood’s legs, for the CMA’s dutifully honoring its elders (George Strait, in a shocker, won entertainer of the year), and for having the yams to do something no other awards show in any other segment of the obsequious entertainment industry would ever do: to actually mock Barack Obama through the medium of comedic song. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood – this Bud’s for you.

On the other hand, this music should not be encouraged with awards. It’s a sign of how far country music has fallen that they actually pull in ringers like P. Diddy to hand out participation trophies. It’s disheartening that non-country singers like Taylor Swift now dominate the proceedings (not to take anything away from her as an entertainer – she’s a talented 23 year old who writes all of her own songs, which have even drawn praise from alt country demigods like Ryan Adams.) And it’s disgraceful that singing-contest-judge cheeseballs like Blake Shelton have walked away with country’s male vocalist of the year four years running.

Then there’s all the bad cruise-ship party anthem bands. Have you ever watched the nouveaux country stylings of Florida Georgia Line? I highly recommend against, lest ye be licked by the flames of mediocrity emanating from all their belching pyro machines.

This isn’t real country music. It’s Nerf country music, for the Cracker Barrel/sports bar/boat show crowd. The one which has been so traumatized by the sociopaths and auto-tuned sex-hibitionists that now populate the pop, rock and hip hop games, that they’re willing to settle for anything that sounds like conventional songcraft. It’s understandable. Still, that’s exactly what they’ve done – settled. I realize it’s now a hipster affectation to champion the merits of Old Country over New Country. But even a blind pig finds a PBR now and then. For once, the hipsters are right.

Somewhere, during the CMA’s, I like to think Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and George Jones bellied up to the celestial bar, and toasted each other for getting out before they had to listen to any more Lady Antebellum. If you find yourself having to do the same, I suggest washing your ears out with this:

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

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